Boundaries in Caring by Hannah Alexander

God has gifted each of His people with one or more spiritual gifts in our lives. It’s a true joy to exercise those gifts, but sometimes it helps to understand a little more about those gifts first. If one of your callings is the gift of giving, whether that would be caring for others physically, or giving financially, let me share a few lessons I’ve learned while exercising my own gift of giving. Maybe you can add to my experience.

  1. Give with an open heart. If you are sure God has nudged you to give to a particular person, do so with a heart of generosity, no matter how you feel about that person.
  2. Before giving, make sure that call to give was from God, and not a simple feeling of guilt because you have something that someone else does not–or because someone has tried to “guilt” you into giving. Humans haven’t blessed you with this gift of giving–that is from God, so follow God’s wisdom, not human wisdom.
  3. Find out more about the person or group to whom you wish to give. We once loaned a car to someone attending our church who was riding his bicycle to work in the cold. We felt sorry for him, and since we had an extra car we handed him the keys without doing any kind of background check. Had we realized he had lost his driver’s license due to negligence, we would have known better. It was much more difficult to ask for those keys to be returned than it was to hand them over in the first place.
  4. When possible, give in secret. I love anonymous giving because it focuses the spirit of giving on God, not me. That keeps my head from swelling when it shouldn’t, and it gives the receiver notice that God knew about their need and cared enough to bless them. I was simply the secret vessel used for the giving.
  5. It can’t be said enough: don’t allow pride to ruin the gift. The Bible has a lot to say about personal pride, and none of it good. When God has blessed you with a spiritual gift, never forget where that gift came from. It isn’t your goodness, it’s God’s.
  6. Beware when word gets out about your gift of giving. To our dismay, we’ve found that there is a lot of greed in the world, and often it comes from places and people we wouldn’t expect. Those who already love to give can easily be manipulated into giving more than they are called to when word spreads about your generosity. We’ve had many requests we’ve felt led to turn down because we felt those requests were made because someone thought we simply wanted to give money away. That’s why I specifically focus on giving anonymously when possible. Then word doesn’t spread that I’m a generous person (which I’m not) and my head is less likely to swell, and those people with nefarious minds won’t mentally draw a target on me and plan to set me up for a scam. We have enough of those in the world, and we don’t want to tempt others to do the same.
  7. Again, practice wisdom as you practice giving. Read Proverbs. In fact, bury yourself in the Bible and don’t let go, because that is where you will find the wisdom you need for exercising your gift. Walk with God at all times. Test and retest your inclination to give to ensure your finances, time and belongings go to the right place.
  8. Don’t expect a thank-you. This is another reason I like anonymous giving, because then I won’t be as likely to receive praise for something God asked me to do. I know someone who loves to do generous acts of love in secret. She once shoveled snow from an elderly neighbor’s yard. She didn’t think she’d been discovered, but when she was, not only did she not receive thanks, she was accused of shoveling that snow so they would feel inclined to pay her. Ouch. What began as a thoughtful act of love became a painful situation.
  9. There is a difference between loaning someone money and giving it to them. You might be called to do one or the other. Learn to discern between the two, and remember the Bible teaches us not to charge high interest rates on a personal loan.
  10. The gift of giving is a great gift to have. It is not something to be taken lightly, but an honor God has bestowed on certain people. If you’ve been given this gift, enjoy, but utilize it with wisdom and a generous heart.
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About alexanderhodde

I love to write, I love to read (in that order) and I love to hike. My husband loves to fly remote control model airplanes, when he can get them into the air.
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